Extended Spring Training Update

With the 2011 First Year Players Draft scheduled for June 6-8, there will be around a week for the Chicago Cubs to sign players to become members of the Boise Hawks when the team opens the season in Eugene on June 17.   Therefore, the majority of the Opening Day roster will once again be comprised of a portion of the 54 man roster that is currently competing in Mesa as part of the Extended Spring Training Cactus League.

Through May 16, the Extenders have compiled an 8-18-4 overall record (thanks to guru, Arizona Phil of The Cub Reporter) – not including four split-squad games at different sites.  Manager Mark Johnson has had his hands full, trying to get work for a total of 30 pitchers, while six catchers have been sharing duties behind the plate.

Early rotation candidates for the Hawks would include Matt Loosen (’10), who spent half of last season in Boise – having posted a 2.11 ERA in 21-plus innings of work this Spring, including a staff-high 29 strikeouts.  Another returner, Yao-Lin Wang (’10) has been solid and is being stretched out, posting a 4.15 ERA in 13 innings.  Others could include bonus-baby Yeong-Kim Jin, who has a 5.71 ERA in 17 innings, and Jose Rosario, who has posted a solid 2.93 ERA in 15 innings.  I would also expect fourth-round pick Hunter Ackerman to make the trip to Boise, as the lefty has improved as camp has progressed – logging a 3.85 ERA in nine-plus innings.

Cuban defector Yaniel Cabeza has put up big numbers behind the plate – hitting .375, with three doubles, two triples, and 11 RBI so far in Mesa, while returning middle infielder Pin-Chieh Chen (’10) has recovered from a woeful 1-for-26 start to Extended to up his average to .271, adding three triples and five stolen bases.  Other middle infielders in the mix include Marco Hernandez, who is hitting .260 with two homers and 12 RBI, and Vismeldy Bieneme, who is hitting .327 with gap power.

I would expect returner Jesus Morelli (’10) to make the trip to the Gem State, as he is hitting .245 with two homers and eight RBI in Mesa, along with prospects Reggie Golden, the Cubs second-round pick last season, and Dong-Yub Kim of South Korea.  Golden leads the Extenders with three homers, while Kim is hitting .279 with six RBI.

For a look at the possible future Boise Hawks – I have compiled (with big assists again from Arizona Phil) the current roster in Extended Spring Training (Cubs Extended Spring Training Roster – as of May 16).  Many of the players are making their first trip to the United States after playing last season in the Dominican Summer League, but there are 13 former Hawks that are among the group (not including Angel Guzman (’02) and Andrew Cashner (’08), who are in Mesa rehabbing injuries.  Also included are unofficial statistics from Extended Spring Training (Unofficial Extended Stats – Thru 5/16).

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